L’Isle Sur La Sorgue sights and shops

First of my Provence virgin trip (12 July 2015)
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After a fun filled week in Paris of shopping and eating, we made our way with bestie CG to beautiful sunny Provence in France. After taking a quick train to Avignon which was really like a touch and go, and resting nearby, we made our way early on Sunday morning to L’Isle Sur La Sorgue.

Sorgue river running through the town and Place Xavier Battini.

The small town of L’Isle Sur La Sorgue, which used to be a fishing village, is known for its many water wheels that once powered its textile industry in the past. It’s easy to see them as we walk along the famous Sorgue river which starts from the Fontaine de Vaucluse, although our eyes are more focused on food and shopping!

Every Sunday, the whole town is transformed into a flea market, making it impossible for cars to enter the tiny streets, which are filled with street vendors selling anything from bottled jams, to delicious cheeses and olives, plus streets lined with vintage tin signs and other cool antiques. This was our main reason to come here for sure!

From almond olives, garlic olives to lemon olives, the list goes on at this store.

Juicy plum tomatoes of all varieties, to fruits of the season – figs, cherries can be spotted. A pity not to buy some!

These cheeses can be vacuum packed and kept easily up to 6 months – a definite must buy for cheese lovers.

My favourite was this truffle cheese which I bought but never made it back to Singapore sadly.

Preserved sausages, and more!

Spices and herbs – great value here!

Bottled pestos from artichoke to basil pesto – one of my favs!

Lovers of nougats, the ones here aren’t too hard and sweet.

Best steak knives – Laguiole can be found here.

Are you salivating yet from seeing all these food pictures? It’s making my tum tum rumbling too looking at these again. I think I might just have some of my artichoke pesto from the flea market, glad I have some of this in the fridge still!

The bric-a-brac antique sellers are on a separate street along the front of the town, hard not to miss. There’s also some antique and homeware shops along the front here which we didn’t have time to see unfortunately. The pictures below are some of my favourite ones I saw. It took a lot of resistance not to buy anything especially when pairing me and Y, 2 shopaholics together.

Close up of Giant vintage knobs, was so tempted to buy these.

More vintage knobs, was it a mistake to resist?

Such a beautiful vintage weighing scale.

Vintage door hardware.

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It’s common to walk around and see many street baskers on the weekends who play and sing so well you could easily just sit by and watch the world go by. It really enhances the whole feel of just walking around the town.

FAVOURITE SHOPS

We wished we had more time to comb the shops, but here’s a shortlist of some of my favourite ones in the town.

La Maison Sur La Sorgue hotel shop 6 Rue Rose Goudard, Tel: +33 6 87325868

Located just adjoining to the hotel, Marie-Claude and Frederic the owners clearly have a great taste and love for well designed homeware, which ranges from beautiful glass dome jars to limited edition hand crafted plates that look like lace. Prices aren’t cheap, you have been warned.

Un Jour Linge & Maison 8 Place Ferdinand Buisson, Tel: + 33 4 90385019

If you are looking for blankets, throws, table napkins and other lovely linens for your home, this is THE PLACE to buy. This shop sells an amazing collection and it’s also the main retailer for Brun De Vian-Tiran, a French brand known for its blankets and throws.

Exterior of Un Jour Linge & Maison

Gorgeous selection of table linens and more

Le Comptoir De Mathilde 62 Rue de la République, Tel: +33 4 90905919

Delicious rhum babas in jars, liquers and chocolates await you in this gorgeous shop. Sweet tooths don’t miss out on this shop.

La Maison du Savon de Marseille 22 Rue de la République, Tel:+33 6 59089012

Marseille soap is the oldest hygenic soap made in France and they have a great selection of natural soaps and perfumed soaps.

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I did not go to the next gourmet shop but it’s a must visit when you are here if you love fruit confits. Their flagship boutique is in St Remy de Provence, which strangely we also didn’t have time to visit.

Lilamand Confiseur 13 Rue de la République, Tel: +33 4 90921345

Exterior of Lilamand Confiseur

For antique shoppers, there’s a huge range of furniture and decorative ware ranging from the 1920s to 1970s in the Le Village Des Antiquaires De La Gare, worth checking out, although it’s much smaller in scale and variety compared to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris.

2 Avenue de l’Égalité, Tel: +33 4 90380457

Exterior of Le Village Des Antiquaires De La Gare.

For lovers of antique silverware, don’t forget to look for this shop hidden behind the Le Village Des Antiquaires De La Gare. Owner, Kate Dickinson (Tel: +33 4 90209075) who just set up up shop that weekend we were there, is the real deal when it comes to silverware. And yes we couldn’t resist buying a beautiful silver tray when we got here. Look out for the pair of dog statues at the front of the shop.

Front of Kate’s silverware shop.

Can I bring home all of them?

EAT

Be sure to check out Le Jardin Du Quai located just across from the Le Village Des Antiquaries De La Gare, which I will be detailing in full in my separate post on Provence restaurants.

91 Avenue Julien Guigue, Tel:+33 4 90201498

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SLEEP

We stayed at La Maison Sur La Sorgue, a beautiful 17th century townhouse with only 4 large rooms and suites, makes you feel just at home. What made it better was we were lucky to be upgraded to the 2 bedroom suite on the top floor, pity it was only for a night! Breakfast is served daily in the back terrace, usually by the owners Frederic or Marie-Claude. The best part is its location in the heart of town, which opens right into the Sunday market. It’s the only place to stay in this town! Tip: If you buy too many things here and need shipping, Frederic can help to arrange that for you, but be sure to take a stocktake of what you bought. Paid 410 euros for Grenier Suite; 20 euros a night for parking.

91 Avenue Julien Guigue, Tel:+33 4 90201498

Tips on visiting L’Isle Sur La Sorgue Market:

  1. Come early on Sunday morning if you want to find parking. Best by 8.30 am to be certain.
  2. Don’t leave anything you deem a valuable in your car.
  3. Best to have more cash on hand, or an ATM card that can withdraw money from their local bank as the market vendors and many of the antique shops may not accept credit cards.
  4. Do price comparisons first as there can be some disparity amongst vendors. You can try to ask for some slight discounts but don’t expect huge markdowns from the antique sellers.
  5. Plan your time well. Most stalls in the market operate from 9 am and most of the shops in town close by 7 pm. Not many shops may open on Monday.

Selfie shot in front of the meandering Sorgue River. 

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